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Film Festival: Classic Military Comedies

The Davis Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival Returns in February for its 14th Series of Classic Films – The Genre for this series is Classic Military Comedies.

Classic Hollywood cinema returns to the Odd Fellows Hall in February in the 14th series of the “Davis Classic Film Festival.”  The classic films to be shown in this series will be the 40th, 41st and 42nd films screened during the Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival. 

In the Spring of 2014 the Davis Odd Fellows offered the 1st series of the Classic Film Festival, offering three classic films for public viewing in the Upper Hall of the Lodge.  Except for a pandemic hiatus, we have been showing these classic films for the past nine years.   Starting on February 19, the 14th series of classic cinema begins.  The films are presented on the big screen in the Upper Hall.   Odd Fellows, Pledges, friends, family and the general public are welcome, and there is no admission charge (although donations in support of classic films are accepted at the door).  The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is located in Downtown Davis at 415 2nd Street.   Parking on Sunday is free and plentiful.   Doors open at 6:29 p.m. and the program begins at 7:01 p.m. 

“A special feature of the Classic Film Festival, since the inception, has been the Odd Fellows’ honored guest, Derrick Bang, the talented and respected film reviewer for the Davis Enterprise,” said Dave Rosenberg, Chair of the Classic Film Committee.   “No one in Northern California knows more about classic cinema, and Derrick will be at each showing giving the backstory of the film, the actors, and the director.   These are details about the film and the actors that are generally unknown to the public.   It’s entertaining and fascinating stuff from the Golden Age of Hollywood.” 

In each series, the Classic Film Festival Committee, working with Derrick Bang, picks the genre for the three films.  Past series have featured an eclectic number of genre including romantic comedy, science fiction, courtroom dramas, classic spy thrillers, and more.  “The genre for the upcoming 13th series is called ‘Military Comedies’,” said Rosenberg.  Here is the line-up, with Derrick Bang’s comments as to each film:

February 19:  I Was a Male War Bride (1949) — One of director Howard Hawks’ best screwball comedies. After marrying an American lieutenant (Ann Sheridan) with whom he has been assigned to work in post-war Germany, a French captain (Cary Grant) attempts to work the system in order to accompany her back to the States, under the terms of the War Bride Act. An absolutely hilarious premise, well executed.

February 26:  The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) — A kinder, gentler war comedy, and a sleeper hit these days. A Russian sub commanded by Alan Arkin runs aground off a sleepy coastal New England community, where — upon discovering this — pacifist Carl Reiner and his wife (Eva Marie Saint) attempt to conceal these “invaders,” who want only to repair the sub and go home, from their hawkish neighbors. Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Actor (Arkin), Script and Editing.

March 5:  M.A.S.H. (1970) — Still the best anti-war comedy ever made, and just as relevant today (and also better than most people remember, who think only of the later TV series). A killer cast headed by Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerrit, Sally Kellerman and Robert Duvall, a terrific Oscar-winning script, and additional Oscar nods for Best Picture, Director (Robert Altman), Actress (Kellerman) and Editing. Timeless.The Odd Fellows bar, with wine, beer, mixed drinks and soft drinks at reasonable prices is always open before and during the film.  Popcorn is always free.  And before the film, audience members enjoy the live music of Rene Martucci and Richard Urbino (“Cold Shot”).  Don’t miss these fun evenings at the Odd Fellows Lodge on February 19, February 26 and March 5.

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